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How to comply with the LCA requirements of the new Toronto Green Standard

Whole building life-cycle assessments will be mandatory for new city-owned developments in Toronto from May 2022, under the Toronto Green Standard Version 4. One Click LCA can help you to comply with the standard while achieving more for your project. 

The latest version of the Toronto Green Standard requires conducting whole building life-cycle assessments (LCA) for all city-owned developments to meet embodied carbon and materials efficiency targets. The standard recommends conducting Building LCA for other developments as well. One Click LCA can help you to comply with the standard and gain LEED certification, calculate net zero carbon requirements, and measure the embodied carbon of your buildings’ interiors.

First introduced as a voluntary standard in 2006, the Toronto Green Standard (TGS) sets out the sustainable design requirements for Canada’s most populous city. The latest update, TGS Version 4, was approved earlier this month and will apply to new development applications from May 1, 2022.

    Which developments are covered by the Toronto Green Standard?

    Since 2010, the TGS has operated as a tier-based system. Tier 1 is a mandatory part of the planning approval process, while the more demanding requirements of tiers 2 to 4 are optional and come with financial incentives for verified compliance.

    As with earlier versions, TGS Version 4 applies to three core types of construction development application, with different requirements for each one:

     

    • Low-rise residential developments. Low-rise is broadly defined as four storeys or less. TGS does not apply to residential developments of less than five units.
    • Mid to high-rise residential and non-residential developments.
    • City-owned facilities. There is no tiered system for city-owned developments; all requirements are mandatory.

    LCA requirements of the Toronto Green Standard Version 4

    Life-cycle assessment is mandatory for all new city-owned facilities under TGS Version 4. For low-rise and mid to high-rise developments, it is covered by tier 2 and tier 3 requirements. 

    Material Emissions Assessments

    TGS version 4 advocates a materials emissions assessment across all development types, within the Buildings Energy and Emissions category. It is mandatory for city-owned developments. 

    • For low-rise developments, this assessment needs to cover life-cycle stages A1-A3 (raw material supply and manufacturing stages). 
    • For city-owned and mid to high-rise developments it is extended to A1-A5 (raw material to construction/installation stage) and must be conducted in accordance with the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)’s Zero Carbon Building Standard (ZCBS) v2 methodology. 
    • Low-rise developments are required to restrict emissions intensity to less than 250 kgCO2e/m2 in order to comply with TGS tier 2 requirements.
    • With One Click LCA, you can meet the requirements for each category mentioned above.

    Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment

    Whole building LCAs are advised as part of the Buildings Energy and Emissions category mid to high-rise developments and are mandatory for city-owned developments. Conducting a whole building LCA for the structure and envelope is also offered as an option to comply with Building and Material Reuse categories, across all development types.

    Landscape design LCA

    Landscape design LCAs are prescribed to comply with a tier 2 requirement on Climate Positive Landscape Design, as part of the Ecology and Biodiversity category. To be eligible for tier 2, the landscape design LCAs need to be conducted both at the concept and detailed design stages. Low-carbon sustainable material alternatives to the proposed landscape design must be identified, and a reduction in project carbon between the concept to detailed design stage must be demonstrated. The One Click LCA Net Zero tool supports all projects that require balancing emissions to Net Zero.

    How can One Click LCA support developments in Toronto?

    As well as supporting the Toronto Green Standard, One Click LCA can also help you achieve your other project aims, whether achieving LEED certification or calculating net zero carbon requirements and measuring the embodied and operational carbon of your projects’ interiors. Here we outline how One Click LCA can support the TGS version 4.

    One Click LCA for Buildings’ materials assessment enables individual products to be compared on a cradle-to-grave basis. It is powered by the world’s largest environmental construction database and complies with LEED v4 and CaGBC ZCBS v2.

    One Click LCA’s eco-design capabilities help designers to identify and specify low-carbon, sustainable material alternatives to reduce impact.

    Carbon emissions intensity or Global Warming Potential (GWP) results are given in tons of CO2 and kg of CO2 per m2. Allowing users to easily see if they are within the maximum limit set for the project – for example the requirement to limit emissions of low-rise residential developments to 250 kgCO2e/m2.

    One Click LCA for Buildings incorporates automation, user-friendly interfaces and clear results display to make conducting whole building LCAs less time consuming and accessible for all. Results are broken down by life-cycle stage, material type and building element so it is easy to identify and address impact hotspots.

    Summary of LCA requirements in the Toronto Green Standard

    Low-rise residential development Mid to high-rise residential and non-residential City-owned facilities
    Material Emissions Assessment Tier 2
    Measure A1-A3 materials emissions. 

     

    Identify low-carbon, sustainable material alternatives.

    Restrict emissions to <250 kgCO2e/m2.

    Tier 2
    Measure A1-A5 materials emissions. 

     

    Identify low-carbon, sustainable material alternatives.

                                                                          

    Tier 2
    Conduct material emissions assessment for structure and envelope for life-cycle stages A1-A5. 

     

    Identify low-carbon, sustainable material alternatives to the proposed structure or envelope.

                                                                        

    Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment
    Tier 3
    Conduct a whole building LCA.

     

    Demonstrate at least 20% embodied carbon reduction, compared with baseline building.

    Mandatory
    Conduct a whole building LCA.

     

    Demonstrate at least 20% embodied carbon reduction, compared with baseline building.

    Climate Positive Landscape Design Tier 2
    Conduct a landscape design LCA. Identify material alternatives.

     

    Demonstrate carbon reduction at detailed design stage.

    Tier 2
    Conduct a landscape design LCA. Identify material alternatives.

     

    Demonstrate carbon reduction at detailed design stage.

    Mandatory
    Conduct a landscape design LCA. Identify material alternatives.

     

    Demonstrate carbon reduction at detailed design stage.

    Building and Material Reuse Tier 2
    Conduct a whole building LCA for the structure and envelope.
    Tier 2
    Conduct a whole building LCA for the structure and envelope.
    Mandatory
    Conduct a whole building LCA for the structure and envelope.

    Ebook

    7 steps guide to Building Life Cycle Assessment

    Inspiration

    Low Carbon Real Estate & Construction Services

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